“A Meeting of the citizens of Forsyth County, irrespective of party, will be held… to take counsel together on the alarming condition of the country.
“South Carolina has seceded from the Union. Commissioners from Alabama and Mississippi are now at our State capital inviting North Carolina to do the same thing. A great question is now before the people — no less than Union or Disunion.
“Believing that there is safety in the voice of the people, all our fellow-citizens, without regard to party, are earnestly invited to attend.”
(signed) MANY PEOPLE
— From a placard announcing “Public Meeting at Winston…On December 29th, 1860”
Such apprehension about secession wasn’t unique to these “MANY PEOPLE.” North Carolina would become the last state to join the Confederacy, reluctantly seceding on May 20, 1861.
“The term [“white trash”] came into use before the Civil War. When the English actress Fanny Kemble visited a Georgia plantation in the 1830s, she reported, ‘The slaves themselves entertain the very highest contempt for white servants, whom they designate as “poor white trash.” ’ The term was also in use at that time in the Washington, D.C., area, where blacks and Irish immigrants competed, viciously, for the same lowly jobs.
“I experienced a similar three-tiered social system while living in North Carolina in the 1970s. There was still a strong after-taste of the state’s three pre-integration school systems: one for whites, one for blacks, one for Lumbee Native Americans. The fiercest fighting was never about who would reach the top because it was understood that white people, the non-trashy ones, would always run the show. The fiercest fighting was about staying off the bottom. I even saw this expressed by some unknown poet on the wall of a toilet stall in Lumberton, North Carolina:
Black is beautiful. Tan is grand. But white is the color of the big bossman.
“A group of North Carolina businessmen is beginning a most unusual mission in Europe…. The businessmen will travel to England, Holland, Switzerland, Germany and France to confer with industrialists who might be interested in building plants in their state.” — From “North Carolina Turns To Europe as Luring Industry Gets Harder” in the Wall Street Journal (Nov. 5, 1959)
“On July 1, 1863, Alfred Iverson ordered his brigade of North Carolinians across an open field [at Gettysburg]. The soldiers marched in tight formation until Union riflemen suddenly rose from behind a stone wall and opened fire. Five hundred rebels fell dead or wounded ‘on a line as straight as a dress parade,’ Iverson reported. ‘They nobly fought and died without a man running to the rear. No greater gallantry and heroism has been displayed during this war.’
“Soldiers told a different story: of being ‘sprayed by the brains’ of men shot in front of them, or hugging the ground and waving white kerchiefs. One survivor informed the mother of a comrade that her son was ‘shot between the Eye and ear’ while huddled in a muddy swale. Of others in their ruined unit he wrote: ‘left arm was cut off, I think he will die… his left thigh hit and it was cut off.’ An artilleryman described one row of 79 North Carolinians executed by a single volley, their dead feet perfectly aligned. ‘Great God! When will this horrid war stop?’ he wrote. The living rolled the dead into shallow trenches — hence the name ‘Iverson’s Pits,’ now a grassy expanse more visited by ghost-hunters than battlefield tourists.
“This and other scenes of unromantic slaughter aren’t likely to get much notice during the Gettysburg sesquicentennial, the high water mark of Civil War remembrance. Instead, we’ll hear a lot about Joshua Chamberlain’s heroism and Lincoln’s hallowing of the Union dead….”
Onthisdayin1960: Less than a year after losing his title to Ingemar Johansson, Floyd Patterson knocks out Johansson in the fifth round in New York. Patterson, born in Waco in Cleveland County, becomes the first heavyweight champion ever to regain his title.
He first won the title in 1956, knocking out Archie Moore in the fifth round in Chicago. In 1962 Patterson will lose the title for good, in a first-round KO at the hands of Sonny Liston.
His death in 2006 at age 71 will be linked to dementia caused by repeated blows to the head during his career.
If the arrival of hot, sticky weather has you reminiscing about your days at summer camp, our June Artifacts of the Month are here to feed your nostalgia.
This set of items from Camp Pinnacle in Hendersonville was skillfully acquired at a flea market by valued donor and NC Miscellany contributor Lew Powell. It includes a Camp Pinnacle newsletter, three letters home from a camp-goer named Barron, and three camp ribbons, dated 1940 to 1942.
In one letter to his mom, Barron offers a few polite introductory sentences and then gets to his real point:
Last night we had a banquet last night. How are you. I am fine. Please send me a knife. Write me.
The newsletter, “Pinnacle Pep,” tells of horse shows and swim meets, girls at neighboring camps, and the camp orchestra.
But while these American boys were making belts, learning to swim, and begging their moms to send them the funnies, their slightly older countrymen were fighting in a world war half a world away. Even amidst the summer revelry, that conflict looms in the background, as evidenced by the last page of “Pinnacle Pep.” It’s a news-brief-style rundown of all the Pinnacle happenings, with the header “Can you imagine that?”
We can only guess at what most of these sentences mean (“‘Smoochy’ Stewart had quite a time the other night…”)
But some are crystal clear, including this brief excerpt:
And this one, which wraps up the camp news with an ominous prediction:
With their lighthearted references to army enlistment casually sandwiched between playful inside jokes, these artifacts show us the tension between the unfettered joy of kids at summer camp and the uncertainty of boys coming of age during wartime.
Former Gov. James E. Holshouser Jr., the first Republican to be elected the state’s chief executive in the 20th century, died earlier today. Holshouser was 78.
A native of Boone, Holshouser earned his undergraduate degree from Davidson College. After earning a law degree from UNC in 1960, he returned to Watauga County to practice there. In 1962 Holshouser was elected to the N.C. House, where he served four terms. When he won the governorship in 1972, at the age of 38, Holshouser became the nation’s youngest chief executive in the 20th century.
Over the course of his political career, Holshouser found himself the subject of photographer Hugh Morton.